Literary Programme 2017

Children’s Reading: Jane Mitchell

Children’s Reading: Jane Mitchell

Jane Mitchell

St. Brendan's School Hall

Sat 15 July 2017



Ghalib doesn’t want to leave his home.

But Syria has become too dangerous, and his family has no choice but to flee.

Running with his cousin through the blown-out shops and bombed stalls of Kobani’s old souq, 13 year old Ghalib Shenu feels invincible; until the pair of them are caught in a barrel-bomb explosion. Ghalib escapes serious injury but his parents decide they must flee the war, and so the family begins the long and dangerous journey from their home in Syria to Europe.

For readers aged 11+, A Dangerous Crossing is a beautifully written and fast-paced novel that follows Ghalib and his parents, brother, sister and grandmother, as they flee, coming under fire, encountering illegal border-breakers, experiencing life in a refugee camp, and ultimately braving a voyage in a boat that is far from seaworthy.

A Dangerous Crossing is based on the experiences of real Syrian families and is endorsed by Amnesty International. Jane Mitchell undertook extensive research in her preparation for the book. She traced out routes followed by many Syrian refugees today and read up on personal stories of refugees crossing the sea to Greece. She met with a Syrian family who moved to Dublin before the outbreak of the Syrian war - and whose parents still live in Syria. She also volunteered for a week in the Jungle Camp in Calais. 

‘I now understand the Syrian refugee crisis like never before. I walked in young Ghalib’s fresh white runners from the refugee camp, I was thrown back by the bomb blast that hit his town, I wept his tears, felt his frustration and anger. There’s nothing like a great novel to make the world come alive. An important book, a necessary book, but above all, a brilliantly told story.’ – Sarah Webb, author and children’s books commentator

Jane Mitchell has written several books for children and young people. Her first novel, When Stars Stop Spinning, was Bisto Book of the Year, and her more recent Chalkline, about a child soldier and his family, won not only a CBI Merit award but also the Children’s Choice award. She works in disability provision in Ireland and travels widely, including recently to the refugee camp in Calais. Her new novel A Dangerous Crossing is a story of bravery and solidarity, family and friendship, based on the experiences of real Syrian families.

Find out more about Jane on or follow her on twitter @JMitchellwriter

Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the duration of this event.